Europe contains numerous picturesque routes that are perfect for driving holidays. From the famous Route One around Iceland to Germany’s Romantic Road and the Wild Atlantic Way along the west coast of Ireland, there’s no shortage of brilliantly scenic routes that are well worth exploring. This infographic traverses the continent to pick out 10 of the best drives for anyone who enjoys the open road.
Some filling stations are guilty of selling contaminated fuel to motorists who are then left with serious engine problems caused by the dirty fuel they bought. If this unfortunate scenario seems familiar to you, it’s worth knowing how best to approach it so that your car won’t suffer too much damage and the culprits are brought to justice. Some solutions are suggested in the infographic below.
It’s a familiar situation to many motorists. You’re driving along serenely when a light on your dashboard suddenly illuminates and you enter a blind panic, frantically trying to decipher what the light is indicating and whether the issue to which it pertains will write off your car. Studies show that most drivers fail to recognise many of the warning lights on their dashboard, let alone understand the significance of them.
Our guide to your car’s warning lights aims to help you understand each of the lights that could pop up in the middle of a journey, in addition to whether a light indicates nothing more than a routine function or is telling you to stop immediately and seek mechanical help.
Many motorists don’t know what their car warning lights mean
In a survey from Insurance.com, 2,000 drivers were asked to interpret 10 of the most common dashboard warning lights. How many failed to recognise each one?
Tyre pressure light
Brake system light
Cruise control activated
Fog lights activated
Electrical problem light
Low fuel light
Engine temperature light
Child safety lock activated
Airbag service light
Door open light
The survey also showed that men are overall more confident than women of correctly interpreting dashboard warning symbols, but fewer than half of all drivers would confidently be able to identify car warning lights.
Would feel “very confident” of identifying warning lights
“Might know” what their car warning lights mean
“Probably wouldn’t know” what their car warning lights mean
Car warning light colours
The colour of warning lights on your car will indicate the severity of a problem and whether instant attention is required.
A green or blue light indicates that a system is on or operating. This is nothing more than a ‘business as usual’ notification, so there’s no need to worry.
A yellow or orange light indicates that something in your car needs to be remedied soon, but you will still be able to drive as normal in the short-term. If a yellow or orange light is flashing, this is more serious and you should contact your motor repair shop.
A red light indicates a critical problem in your car and, if you see a red light illuminated on your dashboard, you should pull over as soon as you can stop your car in a safe place and get the problem fixed by a qualified mechanic.
Red dashboard warning lights
Remember, if you see a red light illuminating on your dashboard, it indicates a serious issue that needs to be addressed urgently, so pull over as soon as you can stop in a safe place if you spot any of these lights calling your attention:
If your vehicle’s brakes are faulty, your car is a death trap. This red light showing an exclamation mark within a circle indicates that your brakes need instant attention.
Without coolant, your car’s engine would become dangerously hot. This light generally warns you that the engine could be overheating and while it may signal a mere leak in the system, it could also indicate a major problem such as head gasket failure. If you see this light appearing, pull over unless you want your engine to explode.
Engine oil warning
This light will appear if the oil temperature is too high, the oil pressure is too low or if your car is almost out of oil, the substance which lubricates your car’s engine. If the engine oil warning light illuminates, this lubrication is minimal or non-existent and a hefty repair bill could be on its way unless you take instant action.
Battery charge light
This light will come on when you start your car, but should go off again after 1-2 seconds. If it remains on, it means there’s an issue with your car’s electrical system, possibly a faulty alternator or battery. A malfunctioning alternator means your battery won’t be charged and you could come to a sudden halt once your car loses electrical power.
The illumination of this light is often accompanied by worrying symptoms such as a lack of power or intermittent stuttering when you accelerate. It may allude to just a faulty electrical sensor, but it could just as possibly indicate a critical mechanical issue. If you continue to drive with this light on, your car could incur permanent damage.
Tyre pressure monitor
Your tyre pressure monitor light will, as the name suggests, warn you of severe deviations from normal tyre pressures and could often indicate a puncture. If you see this light appearing, pull over as soon as is safely possible and inspect your tyres’ rubber.
Your car is fitted with airbags which are designed to activate in the event of a crash and protect you from serious injury. The illumination of your airbag warning light could either mean that your airbag won’t activate if you crash, or possibly could activate suddenly while you’re driving, potentially causing shock and minor injury. Plus, it’s an expensive problem to fix.
Power steering/EPAS light
This light indicates a problem with your car’s steering, which could make it challenging to change the direction of your car. At a low speed, it’s annoying. At high speed on a motorway, it could be a serious risk if you’re trying to change lanes quickly.
Air suspension light
This light is likely to come on if the compressor isn’t providing as much air as normal or if one of the inflatable air suspension bags is leaking. It may be OK to continue driving if this light appears, but it’s probably best to pull over and call for help when the opportunity arises, in case the compressor isn’t working at all.
Car door open
You may think that a door on your car is closed, but these lights indicate that it hasn’t been secured fully, which is a dangerous scenario when your car is in motion. The symbol on the left indicates an open bonnet, the middle symbol indicates an open side door and the symbol on the right indicates that your boot is open.
If your car is in motion and you or a passenger is not wearing a seatbelt, this light will appear and an alarm will sound to advise you to fasten the seatbelt. Once the guilty party is securely belted up, the light will disappear and the alarm will fall silent.
Orange/yellow dashboard warning lights
An orange or yellow warning light on your dashboard tells you that there is an aspect of your car which needs attention soon, but it is not so urgent as to require immediate action.
When this light appears, it’s telling you that your fuel tank is nearly empty, so you’ll soon need to top it up at a filling station. If this light is flashing, you should get to the nearest filling station immediately. Generally, you’ll be able to drive for another 40 miles approx. after the light first comes on, but this could vary from one vehicle to another, so it is worth checking the average for your car.
Low windscreen wash fluid
This light informs you that your car is low on windscreen wash fluid, which could be problematic if you’re driving in conditions where your windscreen wipers are necessitated. When you get a chance to refill the reservoir, look for a container cover with a logo the same as the one above.
ABS warning light
Your antilock braking system (ABS) prevents your wheels from locking when you brake in slippery conditions. If you notice this light coming on while driving, take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible. You can continue to drive if this light appears, but you’ll need to be extremely disciplined with your braking. It’s safer to get it fixed at the earliest opportunity.
Brake pad warning light
When this light appears, it’s telling you that at least one of your brake pads needs replacing. When the brake pads are fully worn, metal will touch metal whenever you brake, which could cause huge damage to your vehicle’s braking system, so get the pads changed as soon as you can. A dull grinding noise upon applying your brakes also hints at the need to change your brake pads.
Your car should be serviced once a year or after a defined number of miles, depending on how much driving you undertake. If you see this light illuminating, it means that a service is due, so book a service without delay.
If either of these symbols illuminates while you’re driving, it indicates that your vehicle’s security system is malfunctioning. This is also the case if the light remains on after the engine does not start with the correct key, and you may need a key with the correct transponder to start the vehicle.
Rear window demister
The demister is a very valuable system in cold weather when you need to clear your rear window, but it should not be left activated for any longer than necessary, as it will consume a large amount of the battery’s energy. It will not go off automatically, so you’ll need to remember to deactivate it. The light could appear on your dashboard or on the demister button.
Glow plug light
Diesel engines need a glow plug to heat the engines before ignition. Normally, this light will illuminate upon ignition and disappear once sufficient heat is applied. If this light flashes or does not illuminate at all when the engine is started, there is a fault with the glow plug, its wiring or its fuse.
Traction control light
When your car loses traction (often in wintry driving conditions), the traction control system shifts power to the wheels that are gripping so that you can keep the vehicle moving safely. It could illuminate for 1-2 seconds upon ignition, but if it stays on thereafter, it means that either there’s a problem with your traction control system or the system is deactivated and no traction control is available.
Green/blue dashboard lights
A green or blue light on your dashboard is purely informational and reassures you that standard controls are working.
This light informs you that your headlights are on, but they are dipped as full illumination is not needed. These will be activated where brightness is not at its fullest, when driving through built-up areas with plenty of illumination, or when driving behind or against another vehicle within sight. Remember to turn these off when you’ve finished driving, as leaving them on will drain your battery before you next try to start your car. However, on many modern cars, headlights will turn off once the engine is stopped.
Full headlights/high beams
This light informs you that your full headlights (a.k.a. high beams) are activated. You will only need these when driving in total darkness and where no other cars are driving in front of you or against you. If you have your full beams on and another moving car comes into sight, deactivate these momentarily so that they won’t blind other motorists.
This light informs you that your fog lights are activated. You will only need these when driving in foggy conditions and should be turned off once fog has cleared, as they can dazzle other road users and partially obscure your brake lights. Some cars will also have the above symbol in reverse to indicate that rear fog lights are switched on.
These lights will flash momentarily when you activate the indicators on your car, signalling to other road users the direction in which you intend to turn. You’ll usually only see one of the arrows, depending on which way you’re turning. When you press the hazard light symbol in your car, both arrows will flash, as will the orange lights at either side of the front and back of your vehicle.
This light will appear when you activate the cruise control in your vehicle, which keeps the vehicle at a steady speed (e.g. on motorways) and allows you to relax your feet, but you should keep your hands on the wheel and remain focused on the road in case you unexpectedly need to slow down. Pressing the brake or cruise control button will deactivate cruise control.
This tongue-in-cheek video explains some of the dashboard warning lights in your vehicle.
Dashboard lights that drivers would like to see
The aforementioned survey from Insurance.com also asked drivers what lights would they like to see added to their dashboards:
Heavy traffic ahead; take alternative route
Tyre tread below legal 1.6mm limit
Speed trap ahead
Unidentified object in engine
Driver fatigued; rest needed
Vehicle load exceeds recommended limit
Unsafe noise level
Blood pressure too high to drive
Road conditions sufficiently safe to eat while driving
McDonalds within ½ mile
So that explains your car’s dashboard symbols
Now that you’ve read through our dashboard warning light guide, hopefully you will avoid any undue worries you may have had any time a light began flashing. If unfortunately you notice a red dashboard light while driving and you need mechanical assistance, make sure to call the team at Woodstock Motors and we’ll attend to the problem quickly and professionally.
In 2016, esteemed car manufacturer BMW celebrated its 100th anniversary. Over the past century the German company has evolved to become one of the most trusted and highly-regarded brands in the world, and this infographic charts the history of BMW from its Bavarian beginnings to the present day. It also profiles some of the most famous vehicles to have been created from the BMW production line.
If you drive for a living, or if you regularly travel long distances, you’re bound to have taken sanctuary in having a reliable, accurate satnav, either as a standalone device or on your phone. This infographic selects a few of the best satnav devices and apps on the market, categorising them by value so that you can spot a bargain if you’re on a budget or know what satnav will deliver the highest quality if you’re willing to spend big.
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) test is an annual vehicle safety and road worthiness test which examines road vehicles on a number of criteria to determine whether or not they are safe to be used on public roads.
When is my MOT due?
Your vehicle is first required to undergo an MOT test three years after initial registration (i.e. any vehicles initially registered in 2013 required their first MOT in 2016).
Thereafter, vehicles must undergo an MOT test every year, with the due date determined by its last test (i.e. any vehicles which passed an MOT test in October 2016 are due for another MOT in October 2017).
In some cases, vehicles require their first MOT within one year of initial registration. A list of such vehicles can be found on the UK Government’s website.
For the purposes of MOT testing, vehicles are categorised into certain classifications based upon criteria such as the size and weight of the vehicle, and how many passengers it can carry. Vehicle classifications for MOT tests are as follows: Class 1
Motorbikes (engine size up to 200 cm3)
Motorbikes (engine size up to 200 cm3)
Motorbikes (engine size more than 200 cm3)
Motorbikes with sidecars (engine size more than 200 cm3)
3-wheeled vehicles (up to 450kg unladen weight)
3-wheeled vehicles (more than 450kg unladen weight)
Cars (up to 8 passenger seats)
Quads (max unladen weight 400kg – for goods vehicles 550kg and max net power of 15kw)
Dual purpose vehicles
Private hire and public service vehicles (up to 8 seats)
Ambulances and taxis
Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (9-12 passenger seats)
Goods vehicles (up to 3,000kg design gross weight)
Any class 4 vehicle (9 to 12 passenger seats) with a seat belt installation check
Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (13 or more passenger seats)
Any class 5 vehicle (13 or more passenger seats) with a seat belt installation check
Check that your exhaust isn’t emitting smoke or leaking.
Bring the vehicle registration document, letter of appointment and any current Certificate/Notice of Refusal with you to the MOT test.
What happens during an MOT test?
Show up in good time (at least 10 minutes early) on the day of the test, as per the appointment notice you will have received either in the post, by text or on email. If you cannot make it to the test centre for the appointment, you can ask someone else to present your vehicle for the test.
When you arrive at the test centre, park in the lane specified in your appointment notice. Keep your engine running at normal temperature for the emissions test.
You will be asked to drive your vehicle into the testing hall when the testers are ready.
After the first few checks, the tester will take control of your vehicle and you should go to the test centre’s waiting area. You will be able to see the test being carried out. Passengers and pets are not permitted in the testing hall at any stage.
In rare cases, your vehicle may be chosen for a randomly administered quality control re-check. However, the probability of this happening is low.
A few minutes after the test is finished, you will be informed of your vehicle’s result. You will either get a vehicle test certificate (if passed) or a list of faults which need to be repaired (if failed).
This 2-minute video shows what happens during an MOT test.
What is checked in the MOT test?
Minimum 1 wing/door mirror fitted to your vehicle (most will have 2, with 1 on each side)
Secure to vehicle
Glass in good condition
No dangers such as sharp edges
Internal rear view mirror fitted to windscreen
All doors must open and close
Front doors must open and close from both inside and outside
Securely latch when closed
Hinges aren’t broken or damaged
Door release (e.g. handle) working properly
Secure and in upright position
Front seats securely fixed to vehicle floor (no loose or broken nuts)
Belts in good condition
No damage, tear or fraying
Can be securely fastened and easily unfastened
Sounds when triggered
All present and working
Correct colour (e.g. red for brake lights, pale for reverse lights and headlamps, orange for indicators)
Secured to vehicle
Secured to vehicle at front and back
Clearly visible on front and back of vehicle
Numbers and letters clearly legible (standard font used)
Chassis/vehicle identification number (VIN)
Permanently displayed clearly on any vehicle registered after 1st January 1980
No more than 1 VIN displayed on vehicle (same VIN can be displayed more than once)
Satisfactory levels of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide
Emission control components functioning
No engine damage
Catalytic converter fitted
No leaks or corrosion
Securely fixed to vehicle
Correct number of silencers as per make and model requirements
Fuel cap fastens and seals correctly
Fuel cap can be opened easily
No corrosion or damage to fuel tank or fuel pipe
Wipers & washers
Function properly when triggered to give driver an unobscured view of the road
Adequate amount of water in screen wash bottle
Blades correctly sized and not torn
Washer jets not blocked
Steering & suspension
Steering wheel secure and in good condition
No corrosion or damage to springs, shock absorbers or suspension links
No corrosion or damage (e.g. dents, scratches) to external bodywork or underbody
After your MOT, you will be given documentation based on the outcome of the test.
What to do after an MOT
If the vehicle passes If your vehicle is deemed to have passed its MOT test, you will be given an MOT certificate confirming that your vehicle is officially in a roadworthy condition. The certificate comes in two parts: one of which contains test details (for submission when taxing your vehicle), the other containing an inspection report. You should continue to drive safely and maintain your vehicle’s condition for the duration of the MOT certification.
If the vehicle fails
If your vehicle is deemed to have failed its MOT test, you will be given a document detailing the faults which need to be addressed. You will be able to book a retest for a reduced fee within 21 days of the initial test. If you leave it any later to book, the retest will cost the full price of an initial test.
What scenarios are exempt from MOT testing?
In the vast majority of cases, a vehicle which is less than three years old does not require an MOT, although some vehicles could require an MOT within one year of initial registration.
The following vehicles are fully exempt from MOT testing, provided that you have completed a Declaration of Exemption form and submitted it to the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency:
Articulated vehicles other than lorries & buses
Vehicles which are driven exclusively on land owned by the vehicle owner whereby no more than 6 miles is driven in a week
Hackneys/taxis which have been taxed by Transport for London or an authorised local authority
Vehicles for police purposes
Electricity-powered goods vehicles
Non-auxiliary trolley vehicles
Vehicles authorised for use by a Special Types General Order
Vehicles driven on UK islands without a suitable connecting bridge/tunnel/etc to mainland UK
Vehicles manufactured or registered prior to 1st January 1960
Getting an MOT retest
You can book an MOT retest for a fee smaller than that of the initial test fee, provided you book it within 21 days of the initial test. Otherwise, you will be charged the full test amount again.
However, if you bring your vehicle back to the same testing station before the end of the next working day for a partial retest, or if you leave the vehicle at the testing station for repair within 10 working days, no additional fee will be charged.
If the vehicle is removed from the testing station for repair and brought back for a partial retest within 10 working days, you will only need to pay a partial retest fee.
You should note that only one partial retest can be obtained for each full test.
How to appeal an MOT result
If your vehicle fails the MOT test and you believe that the result was incorrect or unfair, you can lodge an appeal to get the result overturned. The steps involved in this process are as follows:
In the UK, children up to the age of 12 or less than 135cm tall are required by law to be fitted into a suitably-sized child car seat when travelling in a vehicle. The correct type of seat could prove to be the difference between life and death in the event of a crash, so motorists who take children as passengers in their vehicle need to know what type of child car seat best suits their children. This infographic distinguishes between the different types of seat and explains which one is most suitable depending on the age and physical development of children.
Even though many of the world’s leading economies have been hit by recession in recent times, 2015 was a very lucrative year for the automotive industry. Car sales reached an all-time peak in the UK, while Americans spent approximately $570 billion on motor vehicles last year. Also, while car manufacturers constantly update existing models, or make brand new additions to their portfolio, many top-class models will stand the test of time. Motor companies need to be aware, too, of their markets and where they are most likely to bring in the big bucks. The infographic below offers an interesting gaze into car sales statistics for 2015.
We hear a lot about how digital marketing has transformed business. So many businesses are formed online now and the high street retail industry as we know it has been transformed beyond recognition. The car industry has been slow to react in comparison to other industries, this is likely to be because they believe that consumers will be slow to move to online purchasing of something as high value as a car. This is untrue however as we have seen the proliferation of the online second hand car market where now many car dealerships are now trying to muscle in on into the private car selling niche. We have put together this infographic which examines digital marketing including social media and its impact on the car industry. Check it out!